The term ‘archaeological theory’ refers to various intellectual frameworks that archaeologists use to understand archaeological information. The archaeological theory is occasionally called 'philosophy of archaeology'.
There are different theories of archaeology as various archaeologists understand data in different ways. Over the time, different trends have supported different archaeological theories, permitting them to emerge and causing the death of others. These theories differ from each other due to their goals and the processes to achieve them.
Some archeological theories (e.g. the processual archeology) support the fact that archeologists can develop a precise and objective research about past societies by using the scientific methodology; others theories (e.g. the post-processual archaeology), instead, support the fact that archaeological data is interpreted considering both human and social factors; therefore, the research is subjective.
As well as this, other theories (e.g. the Marxist archaeology) state that the interpretation of archaeological information depends on the individuals' beliefs regarding the society.
Since the 20th century, most of the archaeological methodologies, used to collect and interpret data, have been accepted. However, the archaeological community has been split into two parts. On one side, there are people who believe that archaeological techniques are neutral and not influenced by any theories. On the other side, there are individuals who affirm that these techniques are influenced by the archaeological theories.
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